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Industry Crowdsourcing
Founded December, 2007
Founder(s) Lukas Biewald
Chris Van Pelt
Headquarters San Francisco, California, USA

CrowdFlower is a crowdsourcing service founded in 2009 by Lukas Biewald and Chris Van Pelt.[1] Founded as "Dolores Labs" in 2007, CrowdFlower made its public debut at TechCrunch50 in 2009, and was a finalist for the TechCrunch50 award.

CrowdFlower has completed over 1 billion tasks (small units of work) since it began operation, and presently does 5 man-years of work daily. Recently, Daily Crowdsource ranked them #1 among crowdsourcing service providers in the quarterly report CrowdCensus. Lead411 gave CrowdFlower their Hot Company Award in 2010,[2] and in the same year the company was awarded the Netexplorateur Prize.[3]


CrowdFlower uses crowdsourcing techniques to provide a wide range of enterprise solutions which process or create large amounts of data. Crowdsourcing is a technique in which a job traditionally performed by an individual or small team is completed by a virtual workforce. CrowdFlower’s expertise is in harnessing a virtual workforce, taking complicated projects and breaking them down into small, simple tasks, which are then completed by individual Contributors (crowd workers).

CrowdFlower has over 50 labor channel partners, among them CrowdGuru and TrialPay; their network is composed of more than 5 million contributors worldwide. CrowdFlower stands apart from these individual networks because they offer enterprise solutions and a higher degree of quality control, called Gold Standard Data, which has contributors perform tasks that have already been completed in order to determine their accuracy and trustworthiness. A system of peer review also helps maintain high accuracy levels. It currently works with numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, AT&T, Yahoo!, and eBay.[4]


Currently, CrowdFlower offers eight SLA based enterprise solutions, as well as a self-service platform which allows clients to design and execute their own workflow. CrowdFlower also launched Real Time Foto Moderator, an image moderation tool for app developers and websites, on May 7, 2012.[5]

CrowdFlower offers the following enterprise solutions:[6]

  • Categorization: Contributors match products, URLs, images, or other items/information to their appropriate categories. For example, e-commerce sites with long lists of product names and UPCs also need product attributes, so customers know exactly what a product is.
  • Search Relevance: Contributors rate the relevance of search results on a website in order to help 'train' a website's search algorithms, assess underperforming queries and generally make company's websites more searchable. Retail websites typically need to train their internal algorithms to make search results more pertinent.
  • Content Generation: Contributors are asked to write short pieces (length varies according to individual client needs) to generate SEO or other content. CrowdFlower's solution allows content to be created at scale.
  • Listing Verification and Enrichment: Contributors verify and/or correct existing business listings by searching business websites for contact information and checking websites to add supplemental information like hours of operation or menu data. By improving the quality of listings from third party sales lead providers, businesses can gain an edge over their competitors.
  • Attribute Collection: Contributors collect information about products online, like UPCs, functionality, available colors, dimensions, and other specifications. Retail sites need product information that is not always easily available, but that information can be collected quickly by using the crowd.
  • Image Moderation: Contributors tag images with descriptive terms or flag ones with unwanted content. With user-generated image catalogs it’s only a matter of time before somebody uploads distasteful content; moderating with crowdsourcing is much more economical than machine algorithms or in-house teams.
  • Sentiment Analysis: Contributors rate the sentiment or emotion of tweets, blog comments and other content. CrowdFlower has delivered multiple deployments with this tool, predicting Oscar winners,[7] and analyzing political sentiment on Twitter.[8]
  • Transcription: Contributors take images of handwritten text or OCR input and convert it into digital forms, creating versions which are easier to store and process.

The self-service solution is a general-purpose crowdsourcing platform that allows clients to design their own tasks to be carried out by a segment of the Contributor network. It is ideal for processing small batches of company's or researcher's data, but lacks some of the features included in the other enterprise solutions. Clients upload data, create instructions, answer several questions for quality control, order judgments, and retrieve the results.


Researchers at the Harvard Tuberculosis Lab used CrowdFlower’s platform to identify drug-resistant TB cells. Contributors viewed cortex slides and were asked to identify TB cells. Typically this work would be given to graduate students, but the CrowdFlower was able to complete the task much faster without compromising accuracy.[9] After the 2010 Haiti earthquake CrowdFlower made it possible to route thousands of text messages to the proper aid workers, to get them translated quickly, and to ensure that the people sending the texts had the best chance of getting what they needed. Average time to translate, map, geocode, and categorize a text fell to less than two minutes.[10] CrowdFlower similarly helped relief efforts after the 2010 Pakistan floods.[11]

In 2009 CrowdFlower worked with Samasource to provide work for refugees in Kenya who completed microtasks; iPhone users donated their time by checking for accuracy through Give Work, an app.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dolores Labs Vets Web Sites On The Cheap". 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2012-01-31. 
  2. ^ "Hottest Companies in San Francisco". Lead411. 2010-05-18. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  3. ^ Name * (2010-02-05). "Samasource iPhone app awarded Prix NetExplorateur « Samasource". Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  4. ^ — Robert Munro, CTO of GVF. "CrowdFlower's Customers — CrowdFlower". Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  5. ^ Liz Gannes (2012-05-07). "Crowdflower Heads Downmarket With New Photo Moderation Tools". Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  6. ^ "CrowdFlower's Products — CrowdFlower". Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  7. ^ Patrick Philips and Joseph Childress (2011-03-04). "Oscar Fever: The Sequel! | The CrowdFlower Blog". Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  8. ^ Jodie Ellis (2011-11-14). "Crowdsourcing Sentiment Analysis | CrowdFlower | The CrowdFlower Blog". Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  9. ^ Adrienne Burke (2011-10-26). "Crowdsourcing Scientific Progress: How Crowdflower's Hordes Help Harvard Researchers Study TB". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-01-31. 
  10. ^ "Crowdsourcing the Haiti Relief | The CrowdFlower Blog". 2010-01-29. Retrieved 2012-01-31. 
  11. ^ "How To Cope with Very Large Volumes of Crowdsourced Reports? Add More Crowd!". The Ushahidi Blog. Retrieved 2012-01-31. 
  12. ^ Oshiro, Dana (2009-10-13). "Samasource / CrowdFlower iPhone App Helps Refugees Fight Poverty". Retrieved 2012-01-31. 

External links[edit]